Eastern Long Island Fishing Report- June 29, 2023

Bottom fishing provides anglers with a mixed bag for the table, cow stripers continue migrating around Montauk, and bluefish are thick in the rips and on the flats.

Eastern Long Island Fishing Report

  • Good start to black sea bass season. Bottom fishing is great: fluke, ling, some mackerel in the mix.
  • 50+ pound stripers on the South Fork. Many bass in the suds.
  • Gator blues and big bass on the central/eastern north shore.
  • Solid weakfish to start the week.
  • Offshore tuna bite is cooking.

The Fishfinder of Captree reports: 

“Yesterday’s 10am trip saw another good day of fishing, with a steady pick of keeper and short fluke coming over the rail. The pool fish was around 5 pounds, and the weather was perfect. Both the morning and the evening trips have been producing solid fluke. A couple of good weakfish came up during our 5pm trips mid-week. Sunday’s trip produced a few fluke limits to 5 pounds. Bucktails and bait have been getting the job done. The best gulp colors have been white and pink shine. The bite over the weekend consisted primarily of bluefish and schoolie bass; weakfish were chewing quite well also.”

Captree Bait and Tackle reports:

“Al came in with a 6.5 pound fluke he caught on the Captain Gillen yesterday. Trevor from the shop put in some hours on the fluke grounds now that school’s out. He brought home two keepers for dinner. John Bohl hit up the pier mid-week before his stint at the shop; using some bait and a capture rig, he caught a 3.5 pound fluke. Paulie also hit up the pier, a couple days prior, and took home two solid fluke. Dennis had a 4.5 pounder on a glow gulp off the south pier over the weekend. The jig bite has been good for the sea bass ever since that season opened.”

Bill at Chasing Tails Bait and Tackle in Oakdale reports:

“Fluke are on everyone’s radar now that we’re hitting the summer months. Bass and bluefish are still around, but you’re going to have to work to find a solid bass bite. Fluke are all over the bay, scattered around the channels, and flats. Shop fluke rigs tipped with squid and spearing always works wonders. Bucktail rigs or a soft plastic on a jighead would work great also, especially if you’re fishing light tackle. 

Sea Bass season is open, and the bite is hot! The local wrecks and reefs are loaded up with solid fish. Drop down a bucktail, slow pitch, or resin jig for non-stop action. They also love a classic rig with clams. Bluefish are roaming the flats and chasing schools of bait around. They’re crashing topwater lures and destroying everything else. The last push of stripers off the new moon is getting hunted hard. Surf guys are having a blast, throwing big plugs at big fish. Bottle plugs and darters have been putting in work for that last hurrah. Shark and tuna activity has started to pop up on the temperature breaks. There are some solid bluefin around, as well as some mega thresher sharks. 

On the freshwater side, topwater season is here for the bass and pickerel fishing. Frogs, mice, wake baits, and poppers are getting hammered in the sunrise and sunset hours. Try fishing  around structure like trees, overhangs, drop-offs, and submerged timber. During the daytime, you’ll want to fish slow and low, maybe with a jig or senko worm. Panfish like yellow perch and bluegill are all schooled up tight, and actively feeding pretty much all day. A classic worm and bobber rig will have you in action quickly. If you prefer lures, trout magnets and inline spinners are the best way to start catching. Trout are very active for the morning and evening hatches, and head for the bottom by mid-morning. At that time you’ll want to tie on some nymphs or a streamer to get their attention.”

Rosie Fishing of Moriches Bay reports:

“The fluke have been coming up regularly on every trip! The bite remains consistent, with solid fish coming over the rail for both experienced and novice anglers alike. There’s been a lot of action, and plenty of keepers to take home. Yesterday might’ve been our best trip, with 3 dozen keepers coming up for ten anglers. There were multiple double headers. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for sailing times and reports. Give us a call for booking info.”

Capt. Dave Flanagan of North Island Fly in Northport reports:

“This week provided some outstanding fishing opportunities. The conditions weren’t ideal, but they were good enough to get out and get on a lot of fish. Good thing we didn’t listen to the weather forecast. Striper-wise, it was slots and overs for everyone who came out with me. Gator blues were quite a common catch as well. The water temps are still under 70, and this bite has the potential to last for a good while longer. I still have some availability in July.” Check out Dave’s website to book him for a charter at northislandfly.com.

Captain Stu Paterson of Northport Charters reports: 

“We’ve been picking some big bass and bluefish this week about the Sashimi. The boys at fishing camp managed to pull a few cows over the rail this week, as well as some chopper blues. The biggest bass we had that day was 46 inches and 37 pounds, caught by Dylan.” Call/text Stu at 631-707-3266 or check out Stu’s website to book a trip: northportcharters.com

Dylan with a nice 37-pound striper caught aboard Northport Charters last week.

The Celtic Quest Fishing Fleet of Port Jefferson reports: 

“We picked a solid catch a porgies, sea bass, a keeper fluke, and a blackfish yesterday under some perfect bluebird skies. Earlier in the day, we hammered the porgies with the Massapequa Fire Dept.

We saw some tougher fishing a few days ago with poor drifting conditions. Regardless, we put a few dozen big sea bass in the boat and released a bunch of shorts. We picked some porgies and short fluke as well. We cancelled a few trips this week, but always managed to put together a good catch when we got out.” Call them at 631-928-3926 for booking info, or check the website/Facebook for more info.

The Peconic Star of Greenport reports:

“Sea bass season opened up with a bang, although porgies are still constituting a majority of our catch. There are a lot of medium and large scup in the mix. Weakfish are still coming over the rail. Things are beginning to shape up nicely for the summer pattern.

Earlier in the week, we picked porgies to three pounds, and weakfish to seven pounds. Don’t trust the weatherman, as the day was supposed to be a wash; instead, we had perfect skies and sunshine, and those anglers who came out were well rewarded. We’re running full day trips daily, from 7:30-3. The weekends have half-day options, from 7:30-12:30, targeting a mixed bag. For booking info, call Captain Paul.”

A nice weakfish caught aboard the Peconic Star.

Capt. Phil of Fishy Business in Orient reports:

“The Bryce group joined us earlier this week to target a mix of striped bass and bluefish. We iced down a boat limit of slot bass and a few blues.” They sail out of Duryea’s in Orient. Give Phil a call to book a trip.

Haskell’s Bait and Tackle in East Quogue reports:

“Our manager Nick brought in a fluke to weigh the other day. He got out in the foggy weather and managed a few flatties, notably a 6+ pounder caught between buoys 9 & 10 in the bay. He was using a Haskell’s bucktail rig and a Joe Baggs Elite Backbay Jig. He tipped them with gulp, in the sandeel and pink shine colors. We’ve got all that available in the shop, plus a selection of Van Staal’s newest reel. Plus, we’re now carrying No Live Bait Needed curly tails and paddletails, up to 8 inches. These soft plastics are catching a lot of big bass lately.”

The Shinnecock Star in Hampton Bays reports:

“The incoming was very productive two days ago, with some good looking fluke coming over the rails. The day prior and earlier in the week, we had nice mixed bags of fluke, sea bass and ling. Some mackerel have made their way to our boat too, making for a nice mix of meat. It’s all quality fish, in regards to their size and taste.” They’re sailing out of Oaklands Marina daily from 7am-2pm. Text or call Capt. John for info.

The Hampton Lady of Hampton Bays reports:

“Friday’s trip produced a really nice mixed bag of sea bass, ling, porgy, fluke and cod. Everything has been jumping on the clams when we can make it into the ocean. Text Capt. James for reservations, we’re sailing 6am-2pm.”

Mixed bag bottom fishing with the Hampton Lady.

Chris Albronda from Montauk reports:

“The reports from this past week, both inshore and offshore, were outstanding. Stripers and blues of all sizes were being caught on the reg. It took some time to put a boat limit together, but the opportunity was there for half-day trippers. Bottom fishing has been excellent. Multiple reports of fluke and black sea bass limits came in.

Yellowfin, bluefin, and bigeye tuna were being reported from offshore. A blue marlin was also caught (and released) about a week ago. If you’re into offshore fishing, now is the time to book a trip. Monday and Tuesday’s forecasts hold some high potential.” Shoot Chris a text at 631-830-3881 to book a trip.

Captain Paul Dixon in Montauk has been putting a bunch of anglers on their personal best striped bass lately. Brian McLaughlin and his cousin Tom reeled in a bunch of big bass and blues on the fly just over a week ago. The great bite continued into this week, with Andrew picking his PB bass just a few days ago. John Abplanalp joined me yesterday, filling in for a last minute cancellation. After 30 years of fishing with me, John pulled his fly-caught PB onto the boat. Check his page out for booking info: flyfishingmontauk.com.

Montauk’s Viking Fleet reports:

“The fishing was great before the weekend. The opening of Black Sea bass season was awesome, with a very productive trip. Some nice fluke and big porgies came up as a bonus. Allison Ferreira from MA took home the pool with a 2.8 pound sea bass. The morning trip produced some big porgies (nothing jumbo), and fish on every drop. We picked a handful of slot-size sea bass and threw back a ton of shorts. Aston Wallen from Brooklyn took the pool with a 2.25 pound porgy. Call the office or book online.”

Bill Wetzel of the Surf Rats Ball reports:

“John reported that last weekend, he fished the central north shore after midnight. There was a lot of spearing to be found at every spot he visited. He threw a little bit of everything, but ended up picking his best fish on a blurple SP minnow, a 29 pound striper.” Subscribe today at longislandsurffishing.com.

Dan Del Rosario took the lead in the Surf Rat’s Ball tournament with this jumbo striper that hit his 1/4-ounce jig while fluke fishing. (@eastendsurfcaster)

Eastern Long Island Fishing Forecast

Another week chock full of work prevented me from putting any significant effort towards the giant stripers of June. I got out daily, mostly to find weed-filled surf hindering the bite. The first couple days this week were pretty awesome at least, providing a lot of fishy interest for my Holy Moley. I thought that imitating sandeels might still be the play, but the bass were clearly treating the crabs with preference. 

A quality striper that ate my holy moley after dark.

The structure right by my home base has been holding the right amount of water during the higher half of the tide. I hiked the high tide line most evenings with fly gear as the incoming water crept onto the beach. The tide, being an hour later each night, became less and less productive as the week progressed. Plus, the addition of a south wind made for some very weedy water. The longer and harder it blew, the more weed came to the beach. Eventually it wasn’t worth it, to me, to keep trying. 

What I figured was a beach-wide seaweed scourge was not. Two nights ago, my beach was becoming completely saturated with seaweed; the beach was half-black at this point. I decided not to even try, and focus on catching up on some work. My friend Justin hit me up later, from a little more than a mile away, reporting a complete dearth of detritus. He managed to provoke a couple of hits, and also a couple of new gray hairs in my head as I kicked myself for refusing to really hunt. 

June is not the time to let your effort dwindle. The amount of high quality surf stripers being reported lately is exciting. That Montauk bite from last week, when Sausele took the top spot in the Surfmasters, was just the tip of the iceberg. There is a good population of large hanging around the island these days. Dan Del Rosario just took the top spot in the Surf Rats Ball June tournament yesterday. Although he wasn’t really asking for one, the fish gods provided him with a striper of a lifetime. Dan was targeting bottom fish, namely fluke and porgies, by snap jigging a 1/4 ounce jig tipped with a fin-s fish from the rocks. He caught the big bass using 10 pound braid and a 20 pound leader. That must’ve been extremely exciting, and certainly required some serious skill. Congrats on an amazing catch Dan!

I’ve been thinking a lot about a specific topic this week. The idea arose as I watched replays of Lionel Messi dribbling a soccer ball around opponents. The precision and lightning fast reflexes required to do what he does is world class, and there aren’t many in the soccer world who can compare. Looking through the comments, I found somebody postulating that Messi could sort of slow down time. The comment was well thought out and convincing. By “slow down time,” the comment really meant “make and act on many split-second decisions in a remarkably fast manner.” The actions and decisions are precise, deliberate, and intentional; they get the job done.

Either the original commenter, or somebody in response defined this state of heightened ability as “being in the zone.” It was suggested that Jesus Christ (and other ‘miracle workers’) spent most of their existence “in the zone.” Lord knows.

If you’re an athlete, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. You don’t even need to be a Messi-caliber athlete either. If you’re competing, playing, performing, or doing pretty much any physical labor, you can get into the zone. I wonder if people are able to be “in the zone” in activities that aren’t so physical. I imagine someone playing chess or meditating can tap into this state. I have a lot of questions and ideas about this topic, and it will take a lot more thought to come up with anything I’d consider a real answer. Being an athlete myself, I’m excited to go down this rabbit hole and do some writing on it.

I was thinking a lot about it because I forced myself into “the zone” while fishing this week. As you might have surmised from my whining of late, I haven’t been fishing much lately (relative to what I’m used to). So, my first time out this week, I didn’t feel so confident. There’s this quote from “The Office” where a wise salesman says “confidence is the liquor of the fool, and food for the wise man.” I’m generally quite confident in myself. I’m smart and capable, and I think a lot about what I like to do.

So let me tell you about my first day fishing this week. I hadn’t been in at least a few days, and I haven’t caught on a fly rod in a minute. I knew I wanted to catch on the fly rod today though. I’d give it a real effort. It wasn’t hard for me to find the deeper water; I’ve read as much water as I have English for the last half of my life. Finding high-potential water isn’t the hard part though; catching the fish is where it gets tough. I fished for a half hour, with nothing to show for my effort. My confidence wasn’t very high, because I’d lost touch with the bite. I was hoping to get lucky. I thought to myself. “should I switch for the spinning gear?” I could cast farther, I could more effectively implement my favored technique (the Breakdance), I had a better chance of not missing a bite…

I decided that the fly gear was my weapon today, and I would not doubt myself. In fact, I would do the opposite, and believe in myself. A few ripples had convinced me there were fish up front, so I began to implement the breakdance. It was practically dark now, and I couldn’t see into the water. Long story short, it worked. I got a bunch of hits, hooked three fish, and landed two slot stripers. All the missed hits were lessons quickly learned/remembered. It felt really good to succeed, and remember the feeling of this success.

I’m curious if being “in the zone” applies to other types of fishing, or if it comes at a specific level of fishing. I can imagine a tog angler controlling his urge to set a hook on small bites, and imagining exactly when that real hit might come; he must be in the zone. Is Sausele in the zone out on that rock, and if so, what kind of zone is he working within? Does it last for the many hours he’s perched on a rock, or is it a momentary occurrence when his lure enters the strike zone? Is a tuna fisherman getting in the zone when he perfectly coordinates his drift speed with the conditions at hand? 

I don’t know if asking these questions is going to do anything for you, but for me it’s fun stuff to think about. I figured I’d put it out there and let you guys have some fun daydreaming about this topic.

Please hit me up on instagram if you have any thoughts you’d like to share with me about this. My handle is @SouthForkSalt. Thanks in advance for humoring me; I’ll do my best to respond in a timely and thoughtful manner.

Okay so, enough of that hippie dippy tangent.

Fishing is insane. By me, there’s been a ton of fog this week on the ocean. Hot air is inbound, and the real summer is imminent. I’m expecting to see hordes of menhaden any day. I’ll fly my drone to look for them when I finish writing here. I expect there’s already some out there. It feels good. The surf bite should become productive for most of the rest of the summer season. I reckon the fluke in the surf will be even more active this year too; I think that bite will be cranking this week. 

The average size of stripers I’ve caught this year are bigger than last year. It is mostly slots I’m catching. I wouldn’t be surprised if a big momma found my holy moley before the end of this week…

I’ll just keep daydreaming about that. That’s where the luck comes in with the breakdance. I am going to catch fish; the size of fish is the main variable. We’ll see what happens.

The summer doldrums is just a transition from migrating fish to residential fish, in my mind. Right this moment, we’re dealing with migrators, and the chance for catching something huge is still quite high. Soon enough, it’ll be cookie cutter fish; the size might be nice (especially for fly gear), but it’ll be mainly schoolies. The next week might provide your last real chance of catching a cow in the suds. Look to the moons this summer if you want size. Also, consider switching up your target. Our summer species tend to be delicious: flounder, kingfish, pufferfish, sea robin, mackerel, etc. Enjoy the bounty.

Talk to you soon. Get some.

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